Readers' Favorite

August 27, 2016

Best of Young Adult: August 2016

Are your teens already feeling stressed about school? Give them a break or reward them for studying hard with one of these popular young adult titles.

cover of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
The Fault In Our Stars meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.

Until Polina arrives.

She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.

She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.

Buy The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko at Amazon

cover of Nevernight
The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Buy Nevernight at Amazon

cover of Vicarious
Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

Buy Vicarious at Amazon

cover of Enter Title Here
I’m your protagonist—Reshma Kapoor—and if you have the free time to read this book, then you’re probably nothing like me.

Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.

What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she’ll finally have the key to Stanford.

But she’s convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important than success—a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy.

Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can’t always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she’ll have to decide just how far she’ll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It’s pretty far.)

Buy Enter Title Here at Amazon

cover of Wax
Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.

With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that's taking hold of their town before it’s too late?

Buy Wax at Amazon

Have you read any of these? What books would you have put on this list?

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August 26, 2016

Free Rom-Com: Some Like It Perfect by Megan Bryce

cover of Some Like It Perfect
A woman who has nothing, Delia Woodson is desperate. That’s why she agrees to it. Because she’s a painter, no one is buying her paintings, and she’s desperate. She has bills to pay, food to buy. Someday she might actually want to live in her own apartment instead of on her friend's couch. And all she has to do is paint baby-faced angels on an indecently rich, corporate shill’s ceiling. Because he just can’t think of any other way to spend his money? And she just can’t think of any other way to make it.

A man who wants for nothing, Jack Cabot doesn’t want the mural his mother has commissioned for his office ceiling. He doesn’t want the distraction, he doesn’t want the silliness. He doesn’t want the artist now spending her days ten feet above his head. The artist with paint in her hair, distracting him. Bickering with him. Amusing him, until… Jack discovers he does want something after all.

Will cause you to Laugh Out Loud! ~ Debra Johnson

Good light reading ~ Maggie

It's a fun book ~ Deirdre Debrah

Start reading:

Buy Some Like It Perfect at Amazon

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Review: Chiaroscuro by Matthew S. Cox

by MK French

cover of Chiaroscuro
Father Antonio hunts creatures of darkness in Europe, from demons to vampires, and tries to save the innocent so that their souls can be saved. He tries to rely on his faith, but it's sorely tested when he is called to examine a child vampire named Sabine. Holy water and the cross don't trouble her, and she continues to pray to God to be a good person. He can't reconcile this with the horrible monsters he had destroyed, and in trying to prevent her destruction at the hands of other priests is mortally wounded. Sabine saves his life by turning him into a vampire, and Father Antonio spends the rest of the novel in search of a way to undo the curse so that she can find salvation and free her soul. His faith is tested many times, but his concern is always for Sabine and her wellbeing.

This is an interesting take on vampires, especially in the form of Sabine. Unlike Claudia from Interview With The Vampire, Sabine's mental state remains that of an eight-year-old girl. She is only dimly aware of the passage of time and events so that they slide together, and she doesn't have a good concept of time. It's definitely in keeping with that stage of development and a change from the stories that have vampires frozen in time physically, but continuing to develop mentally so that they would have adult longings and understanding. Father Antonio cares for Sabine as if she was his human daughter, and tries to balance his faith in God with the fact that he is a vampire and must have human blood to survive.

Descriptions are vivid, and really paint the picture of the surroundings in each time period. It sometimes feels as though there's too much description, like we're living a night in the life of a vampire. At other times, it really hooks you in. The boat ride feels almost claustrophobic, and the decay of different hiding spots is overwhelming. You feel just as frustrated with Antonio's inability to find any accurate information regarding vampires or vampirism. It's amusing to see how he fumbles with technology, or how wrong he was when he thought television would never take off. Sabine is a sweet child, for all that she has to drink blood, and her losses were just as devastating for me to experience along with her. The ending is sudden but fits the story and the characters well. I look forward to seeing more books by this author.

Buy Chiaroscuro at Amazon
(a free copy of this novel was provided in exchange for a fair review)

MK French, reviewer. Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (322 pages)
published: July 2016 by Curiosity Quills Press
ISBN13: 978-1620077696
genres: horror, dark fantasy
source: author

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August 25, 2016

The Wolf of Winterthorne by Tracy Goodwin

cover of The Wolf of Winterthorne
Logan Ambrose has endured a tortured existence. After learning how to fend for himself at a young age, he eventually amassed power and wealth. His fortune came at an extreme cost, as rising from poverty often does. Branded, he wears his sins on his marred flesh. Each scar represents a past he doesn't wish to remember, the ruthless man he holds at bay, the tortured soul who would do anything to survive.

Bruised, battered and bloodied, Arabella Sutton is a woman lost. With no recollection of who she is or what terrors she suffered, she stumbles onto the imposing Winterthorne estate running from those who hunt her, haunted by the memory of her bloodied hands holding a blade and wearing a bracelet monogrammed with the initial S.

When she stumbles into Logan’s arms, he recognizes her instantly. She is one of two women he once knew: Arabella or her twin sister, Sybil. One he dared to love years ago, though he now despises them equally. Logan recognizes her bracelet as belonging to Sybil … the last woman he wished to see.

While Arabella must overcome the loss of her memories, she is drawn to the brooding and menacing master of Winterthorne who knows much more about her past than he is willing to admit. Meanwhile, Logan is assailed with memories of his lost love while offering protection to the woman he believes to be her vicious twin, the woman who once reveled in making his life miserable, all the while fighting against the strong attraction that pulls him towards his charge and the reminders of Arabella that she rekindles in his hardened heart.

As Arabella pieces together her past, scandalous secrets come to light and Logan will stop at nothing to save his beloved from the dangerous machinations of her evil identical twin. Together, Logan and Arabella rekindle a romance they long thought extinguished. Meanwhile, they concoct a grand scheme to unmask Sybil and rescue Arabella from her sister’s misdeeds.

Can they protect Arabella from peril and assure their future before it is too late?

Buy The Wolf of Winterthorne at Amazon

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Review: Two Little Lies by Gina Lamanna

by Elisa Hordon 

cover of Two Little Lies
Two Little Lies is the sequel to Gina Lamanna's One Little Wish, where we saw Scarlett and Mack reunited after 10 long years. So did Scarlett and Mack get their Happily Ever After? Or Did Mack disappear again leaving Scarlett behind in Luck, Texas to run her book shop? And did Mack's father get what was coming to him?

So many questions to be answered in one awesome book.

Scarlett finally has everything she wants: her book shop Happily Ever After is a hit in town, Mack's dad is about to go to trial and Scarlett cannot wait for that man to be out of their lives for good and then there is Mack, 'oh be still my beating heart Mack.' Scarlett really couldn't be happier to have Mack back in her life and loving her. So then why does she feel like something bad is about to happen? Is happiness really attainable? Or are we all just kidding ourselves? So many questions rattle around in Scarlett’s head and she has no idea how to figure it all out.

Scarlett has always been told her family is rotten to the core, but is this really true or are people in town too easily swayed by people with money and influence that they just believe what they here instead of believing the truth?

As a character, I feel in love with Scarlett from the very beginning. I love how she never gives up even when everything around her seems to be going against her. There is just a part of Scarlett that always holds onto hope. I really love how strong a person Scarlett is after everything she has been through in her life. Scarlett grows stronger and stronger no matter what awful things Mack's father puts her through. I also love that shy Scarlett is willing to let people into her life more and more. Sure she has Noelle and now Mack is back, but she also meets some new friends in this story and even though fans of Gina Lamanna will recognise Scarlett's new friends they are still new to Scarlett and I really enjoyed her opening up a bit to new people.

'They say one bad apple can ruin a barrel, but I hate to think that's true. People say I come from a line of bad apples, and I never quite know what to make of it. If the whole barrel is bad, is there really any hope for me.'

Scarlett is sweet but tough; she is strong and full of love, Scarlett tries to see the good in everyone and her love for Mack is all encompassing. Mack is, well, magical. Gina has a real knack for writing swoon-worthy book boyfriends that just make you want to keep reading and re-reading and Mack is no exception. He is everything: smart, gorgeous, strong and not afraid to show his romantic side.

'What if I don't want to date you forever?' He raised his hand, ran a finger across my lower lip. He watched my face for a response. When it didn't come, he pulled me even higher onto his lap. My dress floated around his jeans in a puddle of bright fabric. 'What if I want to marry you someday?'

That quote right there is why I love Mack so so much.

The sweetness of Scarlett and Mack is something I just love, Scarlett is such a loyal person to everyone she loves and she will do anything to make sure everyone she loves is taken care of even if it kills her. There really is nothing better than reading about someone with so much loyalty.

So what does Scarlett do when things start going wrong for everyone, especially Mack and Noelle, her two favourite people in the world? What can Scarlett do to make sure they are safe? Scarlett does everything she has to even if it means she is the one left alone and unhappy.

Mack's father is wreaking havoc again in Scarlett's life and she really wants to know what she ever did to Mr. Montgomery for him to hate her so so much. The truth shocks Scarlett, but it also gives her more understanding into the wickedly horrible man Mr. Montgomery truly is and I am amazed after reading this story at how Mack came out to be such an awesome guy.

Two Little Lies is a great story with some sweet tender moments, a lot of mystery and drama, twists and turns I did not see coming, new friends who will stand by Scarlett and Mack always and old friends who always have their back.

I'm not giving anything away. This story was awesome! Scarlett and Mack are back and better than ever even when everything seems to be falling apart and I really, really love old friends and new friends all rallying around Mack and Scarlett.

If you have not read One Little Wish start with that one then try Two Little Lies, They are great romantic mysteries.

Buy Two Little Lies at Amazon

Elisa Hordon, reviewerElisa lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia where she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and homeschooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance, and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.

Book info:
available formats: ebook (232 pages)
published: July 2016 by LaManna Books
genres: cozy mystery, romance

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August 24, 2016

Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

cover of Good as Gone
Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts.  She hates to face them. She cannot avoid them. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she begins a torturous search for the truth about the woman she desperately hopes is her daughter.

Propulsive and suspenseful, Good as Gone will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and keep readers guessing until the final pages.

Tangled family drama ~ Miss Bonnie

by turns gripping, insightful, brutal, depressing, and hopeful ~ Texasbooklover

Well written page turner mystery to the very end ~ suzyobsitnik

Start reading:

Buy Good as Gone at Amazon

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Stranger Days

by Ross M. Kitson

It should come as no surprise to those that read my alternate monthly blog that Stranger Things was a massive hit with me. For those who haven’t seen the smash Netflix hit of the summer, it tells the tale of mid-80s rural America and four young friends, one of whom goes missing. The story unfolds as a homage to 80s sci-fi horror a la John Carpenter and Stephen King, with a dash of Spielberg BMX riding fun to glue it together.

Stranger Things
Image from 
Now apart from the obvious nostalgia value for me (with regards the music, style and every 80s film I ever loved) you’d be wondering why a Brit growing up in Northern England (just south of the Wall) in the early 80s would relate to somewhere in the US mid-west with an alcoholic sheriff called Hopper? Well the clatter of polyhedral dice and the furious debate about whether to fireball or defend against the Demogorgon should solve that mystery as quick as Scooby Doo. Dungeons and Dragons, in all its first edition glory.  (If you haven’t watched the series yet, be wary of some minor spoilers below!)

Stranger Things Dungeon and Dragons
Image from 
I blogged in June about my childhood love of the hobby, and the influence it had on my writing, and indeed the writing of many others. Undoubtedly it had similar influences on the Duffer brothers who wrote and directed the eight episode story.

The first five minutes of episode 1 capture much of what invigorated so many with the hobby: the friendships, the excitement, the imagination. As a narrative device it works perfectly for the series.

Demogorgon figure
image from
The three remaining friends use their interest in fantasy and science fiction to rationalise the increasingly bizarre events of psychic powers, parallel universes (explained brilliantly), and… monsters. The repeat reference to the monster as ‘Demogorgon’ is a real nod to the 1st Edition DnD, before concern that all fantasy gamers were Satanists purged the following editions of demons and devils. In the version played in the show, Demogorgon is the Prince of all demons, in the lowest levels of the Abyss. His two mandrill heads and tentacles made for an awesome miniature, which was slammed onto the table in that epic first minute of the show, and that reappeared as a way of explaining ‘monsters’ to El in a later episode. To the players it is the ultimate monster to be conquered, and the banter between the friends is whether against such a creature it is better to defend or attack. It is this dilemma that drives the series through to its incredible finale.

In my childhood experience of DnD, I only experienced a mild amount of teasing and mockery. Our close-knit group who played, both when I lived in Leeds and later Peterborough, weren’t especially ‘outcasts’ or ‘alternative.’ Perhaps at that time, the UK was more acceptant of stranger hobbies. We all collected comics, loved sci-fi, played DnD, some had computers (ZX Spectrums, Atari, VIC 20s), most of us liked music we taped off the radio. The bullying that the three friends experience in the show is only partly related to their love of DnD, in that it gives the bullies recourse to call them names and mock their close friendships.

And of course, the general perception of DnD at the time in both UK and the US wasn’t entirely rosy. Much in the way that the moral majority rallied against heavy metal music, alleging its influence on the youth of America’s moral upbringing, mental stability and suicide rates, DnD came into the righteous cross-hairs. The now infamous Jack Chick comic strip, Dark Dungeons, tells the tale of Debbie whose participation in DnD games led to her involvement in a coven mainly to get her father to buy DnD books and miniatures. The DnD provoked suicide of a friend then brought Debbie back to Christianity and redemption. The strip culminates in a good old book burning, perhaps with some Harry Potter books tossed on to help the pyre (of course I’m being facetious, as Harry Potter book burning was a product of more recent enlightened times).

The unfortunate Debbie in Dark Dungeons.
Image from
As amusing as it seems now, there was serious anti-DnD propaganda back in the 80s, and even the famed Tom Hanks starred in the TVM Mazes and Monsters in 1982, wherein a latent psychotic illness is unlocked by the fantasy game, Mazes and Monsters, with tragic results. The film was based mainly on the sensationalism surrounding the disappearance of a student at MSU. The 80s were replete with pressure groups against DnD, in some cases driven by religious sentiments and the perception of DnD as an occult phenomenon, and in some cases bereavements and tragedy. Authors jumped on the bandwagon, associating a horrific murder with the fact the perpetrator (Chris Pritchard) was a Dungeon Master (and playing down his drug and alcohol addiction, and desire to inherit $2 million).

Yet most studies don’t indicate that players of role playing games have any higher rates of mental illness, suicide, or depression, but such studies are often ignored in the media. Did it appeal to the geekier cross-section of society? Certainly, as back then they would have been the ones with the imaginations, and the creativity to enjoy it fully. Nowadays these would be the same children and teenagers stereotyped as gamers, the same ones unfairly mocked about hunting Pokemon, by a society determined to deride anyone else’s interests and fun!

Yet it is these traits, of imagination, creativity, and ultimately comradery and friendship which are the core of the heroes in Stranger Things. It’s these characteristics that lead them to accept El, and to search for their missing friend when everyone else has given up. And that’s the message in Stranger Things, and that’s one of the keys to its success—Demogorgon or no.

(As an end-note, the series has got my kids fired up about playing old school DnD again, ironically dragging them away from the aforementioned Pokemon!!).

Ross M Kitson, features writer. Ross is a doctor, occasional blogger, full-time geek, and sporadic author of fantasy and YA sci-fi. Connect with Ross on Twitter.

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August 23, 2016

Find Young Adult Adventure in Dragonfly by Julia Golding

cover of Dragonfly

Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. And he’s not too pleased, either. They hate each other on sight. So, when Tashi and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there’s no escape—from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive the ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure help them or betray them to the enemy?

fast paced sweet read~ hollieanne
great fantasy with solid characters ~ CJ
less graphic Game of Thrones ~ Brittney

Start Reading:

Buy Dragonfly at Amazon

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Review: The Stone Necklace by Carla Damron

By Susan Roberts

cover of The Stone Necklace"She wore her sins like a stone necklace."

This is one of the first descriptions of Lena Hastings at the start of The Stone Necklace: A Novel by Carla Damron. Lena has just survived breast cancer and reconciled with her husband Mitch as the story opens. She has had bad luck in her life and she feels that now is the time for life to be good. Unfortunately that day her husband is in a horrific car crash that takes his life. This is the story of how Mitch's family, and other people in his life, cope without him there to hold things together. Mitch's family includes his widow Lena, sons Sims and Elliot, and daughter Becca.  Lena is an artist who is unable to paint since her cancer scare. Becca is trying to control her life by self-harming.

There are three other major characters affected by Mitch's death. Sandy, a nurse in ICU, who is on probation for using drugs. Joe the homeless man who lives in the cemetery who Mitch has helped over the years. Tonya, along with her small son, was also injured in the car crash with Mitch. It is quite a few characters but the way the book reads it is easy to keep them all straight. They are all part of the central theme of the novel.  No matter what happens in our past, there is hope for the future by showing compassion to others in our lives.

I enjoyed this book and getting to know these characters. I loved the way that Carla Damron managed to interweave their lives and make it all so believable. Damron's background is in social work. It is clear that she has a great understanding of life for homeless people by the way she describes Joe in the novel.

I usually don't pay a lot of attention to who publishes a book. I have read three books this year published by Story River Books and all have been excellent. I plan to look for the books that they publish in the future because they release ones that I enjoy and that need to be read!

I definitely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to all my reader friends.

Buy The Stone Necklace at Amazon

Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively. Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.

Book info:
Available formats: ebook, audiobook, and print (288 pages)
Published: February 2016 by University of South Carolina Press
ISBN13: 9781611176193
Genre: women's fiction

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August 22, 2016

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

cover of The Last Dragonslayer
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery.

Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic

humorous and entertaining ~ Duke
This is such a fun book ~ fatbroadrunning
A fun read for 8 to 12-year-olds! ~ Kalan

Start reading:

Buy The Last Dragonslayer at Amazon

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Review: Criminal by K.B. Hoyle #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

The wait is almost over for fans of K.B. Hoyle's dystopian series Breeder Cycle. The second book in the series, Criminal, is due out this week. Now would be an excellent time to pick up the first book, Breeder, to read for the first time or re-read.

I didn't have a chance to re-read Breeder before starting Criminal, and I really wished I had taken the time. There were a couple of times I found myself trying to recall a detail, but it has been too long.

Even with the lapse in my memory, Criminal was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

For some reason, I thought this series was suppose to only be 2 books. And about halfway through, I was starting to worry about how Hoyle was going to wrap everything up. In case you are of the same mindset as I was, let me assure you this is not the last book in the series.

cover of CriminalI'm both happy and sad about this fact. I'm thrilled that there will be more to the series as I feel Hoyle has created a rich universe that we have just scratched the surface of.

I'm sad because now I have to wait to find out how everything turns out. And if you are a fan of Hoyle you know she takes her time to get the story right so we may be looking at a 2-year wait!

While Hoyle writes with young adults in mind, her books are well enjoyed by adults. Usually, they are sophisticatedly written with complex plots and characters. I think that is why one point bugged me so much. Please note I read an advance copy and perhaps this 'flaw' was fixed before final publication. There is a particular 'clue' that I'm sure Hoyle wanted readers to wonder about, but typically she is much more cryptic with her clues that the reader often glosses over them. With this clue, though, there are so many references to it that I figured out what it meant way before the discovery by the characters.

I'm reluctant to go into much detail about the plot for fear of giving too much away and I would hate to ruin the story for anyone. But we do get to meet more people from the resistance. We also get a look into the everyday life of those part of the UWO as they must infiltrate the Denver compound. Will everything get wrapped up in the next book? Like I said, there is definitely much more about the resistance and UWO that could be explored, but I could see Pria's story being completed.

For those wanting a bit more romance, you will be happy. Though it is still slow as Pria has no experience with concepts like love, relationships, sex, and marriage.

Go ahead and clear your calendar for the weekend, because once you start Criminal you won't want to put the book down.

Buy Criminal at Amazon

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (419 pages)
published: August 2016 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
ISBN13: 978-1612133881
target audience: young adult
genre: dystopian
source: publisher

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August 21, 2016

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter

cover of Dancing with Fireflies
Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Great book in an interesting series ~ marmalee

I didn't want to stop reading ~ Melanie

Fun, touching, quite enjoyable! ~ Joleen

Start reading:

Buy Dancing with Fireflies at Amazon

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